Many enterprises are still predominantly running SQL Server 2000. When support for SQL Server 2000 ends on April 8, 2008, they will be faced with the choice of upgrading directly to SQL Server 2005 or 2008. Typically, most enterprises wait for the first service pack to be released before adopting a new technology. Compounding this is Microsoft's tendency to push products out the door to meet release dates, despite problems that will be fixed in later service packs. These trends may impact the adoption rate of new Microsoft products.
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SQL Server 2008 (due to RTM in the second quarter of 2008) has many compelling features that make it an attractive upgrade choice. The primary new features are backup and data compression, integration of the full-text catalogs into the database, a resource governor to throttle processes or instances, policy-based management and the filestream data type.
The SQL Server upgrade path will include the upgrade pricing, which has yet to be determined. Enterprises that are not enamored with the new features of SQL Server 2008 will ask how expensive it is to upgrade to SQL Server 2005, which will be their platform of choice until support expires in 2011. When the SQL Server 2008 pricing model is released, you can help guide your customers through an informed SQL Server upgrade decision based on ROI.
Whether SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008, VARs will find opportunities for training, mentoring, upgrading and deployment. It is wise to start exploring the product features now to get ahead of the curve, and possibly to identify new features that will help your customers solve current problems.
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